The 2022 Guide to K-12 Data Warehousing


The LinkIt! Team

Read time:

8 minutes

With the widespread implementation of data warehousing solutions, the K-12 education sector across the nation has married into the world of big data. It’s clear that leveraging this technology is becoming a prerequisite for managing data from multiple disconnected sources and making informed, data-driven decisions that support the needs of both educators and students as we move into the future.

With access to devices becoming increasingly cost-effective, it's important for schools that have not yet implemented a data management system like LinkIt! to begin to consider why they have remained on the sidelines and whether they can truly afford to continue to do so.

In this guide, we will discuss some of the key benefits of data warehousing for K-12 schools, as well as provide tips on how to get started and what features and functions are typically available to end-users. So, if you're looking for guidance on how to future-proof your school's data infrastructure and implement best practices, read on!

What is a Data Warehouse?

Simply put, a data warehouse is a technology platform that stores and analyzes data effectively. When implemented, it becomes an essential part of any organization that wants to run efficiently and make sound, data-driven decisions and K–12 school districts are no exception.

Data warehousing first came onto the scene in the late 1980s. Its purpose was to help businesses store and organize an enormous volume of current and historical data and to get this data to flow from operational systems into decision-making support systems. Data warehouse software has evolved over time and today delivers additional value to many different types of organizations, including those in the education industry.

What many may not realize is that there are statewide data warehouses already in place for K–12. These data warehouses store all the different datasets for school districts. Large districts may even use a data warehouse to store financial, HR, and academic data. In general, end-users tend to utilize various additional data visualization tools like PowerBI and Tableau. In general, while state-level systems do serve the purpose of storing data for official record-keeping and compliance purposes, in many cases, access to such data is limited to a relatively small group of people. Or, if broader access is available, it may be cumbersome to query the data warehouse in order to successfully identify key patterns. 

By contrast, instructional data warehouses like LinkIt! are designed to house data and support broad access to data visualizations for multiple stakeholder groups, including school and district administrators, classroom teachers, parents and even students themselves. An instructional data warehouse not only brings in data directly via online assessments, file uploads, and manual entry, but typically integrates with a district's SIS platform, LMS, grade book and other data systems to make it easy to access and analyze a wide variety of key data sets under one roof.

For schools, a data warehouse can be the very key to success on multiple fronts. By compiling data related to key performance indicators from all of the different areas of the school, a data management system can help identify patterns and trends that wouldn’t be readily apparent if the data was not stored and organized properly. The information that comes from running data analytics through a system like this can be used to track student progress, as well as enhance policies and procedures within the school and target specific areas where improvement is needed. 

Overall, data warehousing solutions are a logical choice for schools looking to harness their large and growing data sets and fulfill their fundamental purpose - to successfully guide as many students as possible through their highest educational goals and needs.

What Features and Functions are Included in a Data Warehouse?

A datawarehouse has many features and functions that make it extremely beneficial forschools:

  • Storage: The ability to house large amounts of data can help in making better decisions about improving the school curriculum, enhancing research capabilities, providing actionable insights for administrators and allocating budget more wisely. 
  • Sorting & Grouping: With a click of a button, district personnel can sort and view data by school, grade, class, year, subject and more. Students can be grouped together based on similar performance levels on specific learning objectives.
  • Tracking: Educators need a complete view of all the data related to their students and their historical performance. The tracking features built into data warehouse solutions offer the ability to view and analyze student achievement and progress in a single location and identify trends.
  • Customized Reports: Reporting features help to guide decision-making at district, school, class and individual levels. These reports include the ability to drill down to subscores and specific skills as well as determine program eligibility and rostering based on customized metrics.
  • User-friendly Dashboards: A wide range of role-specific interactive dashboards that include performance graphs and data tables that also support printing (and batch printing) as well as data exporting and sharing functionality to enable collaboration between stakeholders
  • Permissions: Federal and state privacy guidelines typically limit access to student data to personnel that have a legitimate educational interest in viewing such data. These guidelines include well-known laws such as FERPA and COPPA. Data warehouses typically have a role-based permission structure to regulate data access such that only those authorized to view a certain data set are able to do so.
  • Assessment/Data Capture Tools: Some data warehouse systems that are explicitly designed for K-12 use have features that support assessment design and administration, as well as other specialized tools for capturing student data for attendance, grades, behavior and other key student sets. LinkIt! is one example of such a data warehouse, but there are certainly others in this category.

How Can a Data Warehouse Benefit My School?

A data warehouse can provide schools with a variety of benefits including better data analytics, improved decision-making, and more accurate reporting. 

Schools have a challenging task when it comes to collecting relevant data and setting aside the time required to analyze that data and ultimately, translate it into actionable next steps.. School leaders need to provide accurate information to their district administrators and make well-informed decisions based on certain information. Tracking all of the necessary data is the fundamental challenge that data warehouses were designed to address.

Some of the most important benefits include:

  1. The ability to access, analyze, and correlate different data sets typically stored in individual files 
  2. Being able to track longitudinal data for every student in a school (data follows the student)
  3. Manage permissions and data access across multiple stakeholder groups
  4. Provide context around to support the interpretation of key data sets with color-coded performance band achievement levels

Without a data management system, it would take forever to compile the huge amount of information and more impossible to make use of it all. That's no longer the case with data warehousing. Schools can now collect and store all their data in one place, making it easy to access and use when needed. Plus, data warehouses are constantly updated, so you always have the latest information at your fingertips!

How Does a Data Management System Work?

Schools are sometimes called upon to provide data to district personnel and to hand it over by a hard deadline. Having a data management system in place makes what could be a harrowing task so much easier. The challenge is compounded by the fact that most school districts have multiple source systems. These include Student Information Systems (SIS), grade books, learning management systems (LMS), as well as various systems for tracking data related to assessments and instructional programs. Increasingly, these systems are integrated with one another using APIs or Single Sign On (SSO) technology, but all-too-often the data sets remain siloed and disconnected. This makes it difficult to form a complete picture of student performance and that’s where a data warehouse solution can add tremendous value.

When a report on a district-level is pulled, the information that comes from this is crucial in determining why one school may be doing better in some or all areas than others, for example. Then adjustments can be made to direct additional support resources to the schools that are falling behind. The same concept may be applied at the classroom level and even for individual students.

By integrating a data warehouse with other systems in the school, such as Student Information Systems (SIS) or Learning Management Systems (LMS), schools can make informed decisions that will improve student achievement and schools in every area without the need to log into multiple systems or extract and load duplicate data sets into several different platforms. Finding a data warehouse that supports real-time or nightly data syncs is fundamental to reducing operational friction and removing one of the most common barriers to the effective use of data

What Makes LinkIt! Different?


LinkIt! is an instructional data warehouse solution specifically designed for K–12 schools. Our flexible, permissions-based, modular platform allows for secure and accurate reporting and has features designed by educators for educators.

Packaging data in a format that makes it intuitive, easily digestible, and actionable, we provide an easy way for administrators to manage and use the power of data in a district or school.

With the same intuitive look and feel across diverse data sets, LinkIt! has over a decade of proven experience in helping schools and their staff quickly assess student, school and district data. Our platform also offers unique capabilities in terms of correlating and triangulating results from local and state benchmarks, attendance figures, grades, and behavior. These features have been developed based upon the input of hundreds of enthusiastic educators looking to make more effective use of data.

LinkIt! supports specific data visualizations designed for different roles and users - central admins, principals, teachers, students, and parents. These interactive, dashboard-style reports can be exported, printed and shared via Student/Parent Portals. The availability of features like this can help schools transition away from spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations as a means of efficiently collecting data, analyzing and sharing relevant data.

What LinkIt! Customers Have to Say


Schools are under increasing pressure to find new and innovative ways of using data to improve teaching and learning. That's why more and more schools are choosing LinkIt! as their data management solution. But don't take our word for it. . .   Hear what some of our satisfied customers have to say about us.


“Schools and students are like mosaics. From a distance, you can see the overall image, but it’s not until you’re up close that you can see the little pieces. Those pieces are data points – measures of skills and knowledge made visible through assessment. We analyze loads of data through LinkIt! We do our benchmarks, look at the state testing data, and take a close look at subgroups. We also survey teachers so there’s anecdotal evidence with their points of view.”

Dr. George J. Solter Jr.


North Bergen School District

“When we were considering data solutions, there was a consensus that LinkIt! was a company of educators who then were hiring people to do software, and not the other way around. They already knew what we needed because a number of the people in charge had come right from education. They were superintendents and administrators.”

Thomas Kuehn

K-12 Curriculum Supervisor

Clifton Public Schools


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